Gammerstang commented on the word vinomadefied
(adjective) - Soaked with wine; formed on Latin madefieri, to be soaked.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1928
January 16, 2018
Gammerstang commented on the word dead-nip
(noun) - A blue mark in the body, not produced by a blow, contusion, or any known cause . . . sometimes called a witch's nip.
--John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808
Gammerstang commented on the word fen-nightengale
(noun) - (1) A frog; otherwise called a March-bird. It is that month when frogs are vocal.
--Rev. Robert Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia, 1830
(2) Fen-nightingales, toads and frogs, from their continued croaking at night. From fen, swamp.
--John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887
Gammerstang commented on the word wagpastie
(noun) - (1) A term of contempt; a rogue.
--Walter Skeat's Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, 1914
(2) A deceiver of folkes by subtill craft and guile.
--Nicholas Udall's Roister Doister, 1553
Gammerstang commented on the word woad
(adjective) - Mad; from Saxon wod, insanus. Wode occurs several times in Chaucer.
--John Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, 1825
Gammerstang commented on the word barrow-back't
(adjective) - Bent by heavy work such as wheeling loaded barrows.
--Alexander Gibson's Folk-Speech of Cumberland, 1880
Gammerstang commented on the word cheating the devil
(noun/verb) - (1) Softenings of very profane phrases, the mere euphemisms of hard swearing, as od's blood, dash it, see you blowed first, deuce take it, by gosh, and like profane preludes such as boatswains and their mates are wont to use.
--Admiral William Smyth's Sailor's Word-Book, 1867
(2) Dammy boy: an unruly person. In allusion to the habit of excessive use of the word "damn" and general swearing by the man-about town of 16th and 17th centuries.
--Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922
Gammerstang commented on the word hen-blindness
(noun) - (1) A name given in allusion to hens, to that kind of defective vision which is comparatively good by day but lost or obscure by night.
--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c.1850
(2) Hens . . . cannot see to pick up small grains in the dusk of the evening, and so employ this time in going to roost; this is sometimes called hen-blindness.
--John Good's Study of Medicine, 1834
Gammerstang commented on the word dern
(adjective) - Of actions proceeding in secret, or in the dark; kept concealed; hence of evil or deceitful nature. Of persons, secret in purpose or action; reserved; hence, underhand, sly, crafty. Of a person, treated as a confidant; entrusted with hidden matters. Of places, serving well to conceal, as lying out of the way.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1897
Gammerstang commented on the word mim
(adjective) - Prudish, prim, and discreetly silent, applied only to women; or contemptuously to effeminate men, as in the phrase, "He's as mim as a maiden." In this sense the word is distinguished from mum, which means silent, or secret only, without reference to sex, as in the current slang, "mum's the word" . . . The word mim has a meaning of its own, which should preserve it in the language. It is derived by some authorities from the Greek mimeo, to imitate by action without speaking; whence mimicry, mimic, and pantomime.
--Charles Mackay's Lost Beauties of the English Language, 1874
Gammerstang commented on the word supermundane
(adjective) - (1) Elevated in nature or character above what pertains to the earth or world; belonging to a region above the world. Humorously or ironically applied to what is ideal, fantastic, or chimerical. Situated above the earth. Adapted from Medieval Latin supramunda by Thomas Aquinas.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1919
(2) Perhaps, in that supermundane region, we may be amused with seeing the fallacy of our own guesses.
--Thomas Jefferson's Writings, 1818
Gammerstang commented on the word alfridaria
(noun) - (1) A power which astrologers pretend that the planets possess over a person.
--William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832
(2) From Arabic root farada, to define, decree, appoint a time for a thing, with the suffix aria.
Gammerstang commented on the word Bryn-Mawrtyr
(noun) - A woman who has been connected with Bryn Mawr College as an undergraduate.
--Howard Savage's Slang from Bryn Mawr College, 1922
Gammerstang commented on the word dunny
(adjective) - (1) Hard of hearing. Dunch is deaf in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire dialects; whence is derived the word dunce.
--G. Lewis's Glossary of Provincial Words Used in Herefordshire, 1839
(2) Dunt, to confuse with noise; to deafen. From 15th-century dunt, a dull blow.
--Edward Gepp's Essex Dialect Dictionary, 1923
Gammerstang commented on the word nitty
(adjective) - Abounding with nits, the eggs of a louse or other small insect.
--Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850
Gammerstang commented on the word niding
(noun) - A low, mean, contemptible, base wretch; formerly the most opprobrious word that could be applied to any body.
Gammerstang commented on the word sneeze-lurker
(noun) - A thief working with snuff, pepper, and the like. To give on the sneeze racket, to dose a man in the eyes, and then rob him.
--John Farmer's Slang and Its Analogues, 1903
Gammerstang commented on the word tippybobs
(pl. noun) - The wealthy classes. Tippy, meaning fine, is in Brockett's North Country Words, 1825.
--Gilbert Tucker's American English, 1921
Gammerstang commented on the word moon-man
(noun) - Moon-man signifies in English a madman because the moon hath greatest domination, above any other planet, over the bodies of frantic persons . . . Their name they borrow from the moon because, as the moon is never in one shape two nights together but wanders up and down heaven like an antic, so these companions never tarry one day in a place.
--Thomas Dekker's Lanthorn and Candle Light, 1608
Gammerstang commented on the word clapper-dudgeon
(noun) - (1) A clapperdogeon is in English a beggar borne; Beggar's Bush.
--Rev. Alexander Dyce's Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, 1845
(2) Probably derived from the beggar's custom of clapping a dish.
--Robert Nares' Glossary of the Works of English Authors, 1859
Gammerstang commented on the word earth-hunger
(noun) - An inordinate desire to become the possessor or tenant of a small holding of land. Specifically, the intense feeling evinced by the Irish in favour of a peasant proprietary.
--Edward Lloyd's Encyclopædic Dictionary, 1895
Gammerstang commented on the word humphrey
(noun) - A coat with false pockets; the better to facilitate thieving operations.
--John Farmer's Americanisms Old and New, 1889
Gammerstang commented on the word merry as a grig
(adjective) - A grig is a grasshopper. In most countries the cricket and the grasshopper are types representing a careless, happy existence. We have the related saying "Merry as a cricket," and Tennyson in "The Brook" speaks of "high-elbowed grigs that leap in summer grass."
--Henry Reddall's Fact, Fancy, and Fable, 1889
Gammerstang commented on the word cucupha
(noun) - A sort of coif or cap with a double bottom, between which is enclosed a mixture of aromatic powders. It was formerly used as a powerful cephalic.
--Robley Dunglison's Dictionary of Medical Science, 1844
Gammerstang commented on the word flamfoo
(noun) - A gaudily dressed female, one whose chief pleasure consists of dress. Perhaps from flam, "an illusory pretext", and foye, what excites disgust. This term, however, seems to be the same with Old English flamefew, "the moonshine in the water." Any gaudy trapping in female dress. Ayershire.
--John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1879
Gammerstang commented on the word fern-tickles
(pl. noun) - (1) Freckles on the skin resembling the seeds of the fern, freckled with fern, quite like small ticks . . . Ferns are frequently the receptacle of ticks, of which tickles may be considered a diminutive.
--William Carr's Dialect of Craven, 1828
(2) These are popularly accounted for as the marks made by the spurting of milk from the mother's breast, inevitably occasioned, so that a face may be marred that is "over bonny."
--C. Clough Robinson's Glossary of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876
Gammerstang commented on the word whiddiful
(noun) - One who deserves hanging; a scamp, rascal; one who would fill a "widdy," or hangman's halter.
Gammerstang commented on the word halloch
(noun) - A term used to express that strange gabbling noise people make who are talking in a language we do not understand.
--John Mactaggart's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824
Gammerstang commented on the word wosbird
(noun) - (1) A term of reproach, the meaning of which appears to be unknown to those who use it. It is evidently a corruption of whore's-bird, to which it must be added that bird in Old English and Anglo-Saxon means birth, and hence offspring, progeny; or the Old English burd, bride, young woman, in which case the term means a bastard daughter. Either way, it comes to much the same, and the term was easily generalized.
--William Cope's Glossary of Hampshire Words and Phrases, 1883
(2) Whore is the past participle of Anglo-Saxon hynan, to hire. The word means simply someone, anyone, hired. It was formerly written without the w.
--John Tooke's Diversions of Purley, 1840
(3) Wasbird, a wartime phrase used of any elderly man eager to enlist.
--Edward Fraser's Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases, 1925
(4) Used also of children and occasionally of animals.
--Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905
Gammerstang commented on the word turn the peats
(verb) - A north country phrase equivalent to "change the subject." The allusion is to the square blocks of dried peat which are used for fuel and which, when they become red-hot underneath, are turned to allow the burning side to give out its warmth and glow.
--Basil Hargrave's Origins and Meanings of Popular Phrases, 1925
Gammerstang commented on the word astrologian
(noun) - One who professes to foretell events by the aspects and situation of the stars. Formerly one who understood the motions of the planets without predicting.
Gammerstang commented on the word Foot and Walker's line
(noun) - Persons who cannot afford to ride are said to patronize this old-fashioned system of getting there.
--James Maitland's American Slang Dictionary, 1891
Gammerstang commented on the word abacot
(noun) - A spurious word which by a remarkable series of blunders has gained a foothold in the dictionaries. It is usually defined as "a cap of state, wrought up into the shape of two crowns, worn formerly by English kings." Neither word nor thing has any real existence. In Edward Hall's "Chronicles" 1550 the word bicocket (Old French bicoquet, a sort of peaked cap or head-dress) happened to be printed abococket. Other writers copied the error. Then in 1577 Holinshed improved the new word to abococke, and Abraham Fleming to abacot, and so it spun merrily along, a sort of rolling stone of philology . . . until Spelman landed the prize in his "Glossarium," giving it the definition quoted above. So through the dictionaries of Bailey, Ash, and Todd it has been handed down to our time - a standing example of the . . . ponderous indolence which philologers repeat without examining the errors of their predecessors. Nay, the error has been amusingly accentuated by . . . a rough wood-cut of the mythical abacot, which in its turn has been servilely reproduced.
--William Walsh's Handy-Book of Literary Curiosities, 1909
Gammerstang commented on the word gavelkind
(noun) - (1) In Law, a Kentish custom whereby the lands of a father are, at his death, equally divided among his sons, to the exclusion of the females, or those of a brother are equally divided among brothers, if he dies without issue.
--Daniel Fenning's Royal English Dictionary, 1775
(2) Apparently from a British source, although the word is of Gaelic form.
--Hensleigh Wedgwood's Dictionary of English Etymology, 1878
(3) Disgavel, to take away the tenure of gavelkind.
Gammerstang commented on the word pomster
(verb) - To treat illness without knowledge or skill in medicine. Devon and Cornwall.
Gammerstang commented on the word newdicle
(noun) - Something new; just as a miracle is something wonderful. A fanciful and licentious fabrication, perhaps never used at all seriously.
--Robert Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia, 1830
Gammerstang commented on the word gleeamy
(adjective) - (1) Of the weather, hot and sultry, with alternating showers.
--Thomas Darlington's Folk-Speech of South Cheshire, 1887
(2) Showery, with bright intervals. From gleam, a hot interval of sunshine between showers; a ray of sunshine.
Gammerstang commented on the word unsex
(verb) - (1) To deprive of sex or sexual character; transformation in respect to sex; usually with reference to a woman, to make masculine.
--William Whitney's Century Dictionary, 1889
(2) To make otherwise than the sex commonly is.
--John Walker's Dictionary and Expositor of the English Language, 1835
(3) Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.
--William Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1605
Gammerstang commented on the word bung your eye
(verb) - Drink a dram; strictly speaking, to drink till one's eye is bunged up, or closed. Boys at school said, "I'll bung your eye," meaning to strike one in the eye, the consequence of which was generally a bunged eye, that is, so swollen as to be closed up. It is derived, no doubt, from bung, which came from a Welsh word that means a stopple stopper.
--Alfred Elwyn's Glossary of Supposed Americanisms, 1859
Gammerstang commented on the word hot spong
(noun) - (1) A sudden powerful heat.
(2) A sudden power of heat from the sun emerging from a cloud; Eastern England.
--James Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855
Gammerstang commented on the word babbs
(noun) - The foul luce, or slimy matter a razor scrapes off the face in shaving.
Gammerstang commented on the word wet finger
(adjective) - It probably means as easy as turning over the leaf page of a book . . . or tracing a lady's name on the table with spilt wine. With a wet finger, easily, readily.
Gammerstang commented on the word dringle
(verb) - To waste time in a lazy lingering manner. It has exactly the same sense as drumble, which Mrs. Ford uses in The Merry Wives of Windsor, in berating her servants for not being more nimble in carrying off the laundry-basket. Had that merry gossip been an East Angle, she must have said dringle.
Gammerstang commented on the word caperlash
(noun) - (1) Abusive language. To cample is a Northern word for to scold.
--Roger Wilbraham's Glossary of Some Words Used in Cheshire, 1826
(2) Amperlash, saucy, abusive language. "I'll have none o' thy amperlash."
Gammerstang commented on the word make a long arm
(verb) - To reach far, especially when trying to help oneself to food.
--J.C. Ruppenthal's Word-List from Kansas, 1916
Gammerstang commented on the word suppedaneous
(adjective) - (1) Being under the feet; from Latin pes, the foot.
(2) Applied to a mountain lying at the foot of another.
Gammerstang commented on the word cumberworld
(noun) - (1) That which is only a trouble, or useless burthen to the world.
(2) A cumberworld, yet in the world am left,
A fruitless plot, with brambles overgrown,
Mislived man of my worlds joy bereft,
Heartbreaking cares, the offspring of my moan.
--Michael Drayton's Shepherd's Garland, 1593
(3) Cumberground, anything utterly worthless and in people's way; something that ought to be destroyed or buried out of sight.
Gammerstang commented on the word miscasualty
(noun) - An unlucky accident. And why is it not as good a word as mischance or misfortune?
Gammerstang commented on the word dortiness
(noun) - Pride, haughtiness, arrogance, insolence.
Gammerstang commented on the word ullage
(noun/verb) - (1) The remainder in a cask or package which has leaked or been partially used.
--Admiral William Smyth's Sailor's Word Book, 1867
(2) Ullage of a cask is what such a vessel wants of being full.
--Edward Phillips' New World of English Words, 1706
(3) The quantity of liquor contained in a cask partially filled, and the capacity of the portion which is empty, are termed respectively the wet and dry ullage.
--Encyclopedia Britannica, 1883
(4) To calculate the amount of ullage in a cask. To fill up again an ullaged cask.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1926
Gammerstang commented on the word wild fowl flavor
(noun) - Tasty and appetizing food was said to have a real "wild fowl flavor." The dish in question might be a pie or any kind of food. Nantucket.
--William Macy's Nantucket Scrap Basket, 1930
Gammerstang commented on the word celibatarian
(noun) - (1) Inclined to, or favouring, celibacy.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1893
(2) A person who is unmarried; a celebatist.
--John Ogilvie's Comprehensive English Dictionary, 1865
Gammerstang commented on the word eagle-stone
(noun) - This stone was formerly supposed to facilitate delivery, if bound on the thigh; and to prevent abortion, if bound on the arm.
Gammerstang commented on the word stirrup-dram
(noun) - (1) A glass of ardent spirits or draught of ale given by the landlord of an inn to his guest when about to depart.
--John Jamieson's Etymological Scottish Dictionary, 1808
(2) In the north of the Highlands, called "cup at the door."
--Ebenezer Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898
By the 19th century, the term stirrup-cup, also called the doch-an-dorrais (from Gaelic and Irish deoch, drink, and an doruis, of the door) was extended to include the welcoming of a guest with a drink before his dismount.
Gammerstang commented on the word Cincinnati oysters
(pl. noun) - Pigs' trotters, or pigs' feet. Many examples can be given of this strange perversion of names - Albany beef, Marblehead turkey, etc. Similarly in England, a herring is called a Billingsgate pheasant, a two-eyed steak, etc.
--Sylva Clapin's New Dictionary of Americanisms, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word wanion
(noun) - A misfortune or calamity; a curse, mischief. Chiefly used as an imprecation in the phrases, with a wanion, and wanions on you.
Gammerstang commented on the word quixotism
(noun) - (1) Romantic or absurd notions or actions.
--William Grimshaw's Ladies' Lexicon and Parlour Companion, 1854
(2) Quixotic principles, character, or practice; an instance of this - a quixotic action or idea. Quixotize, to act in a quixotic manner; to render quixotic. Quixotry, quixotism.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909
Gammerstang commented on the word nake
To bare, unsheathe a sword. "Nake your swords." Cyril Tourneur's The Revenger's Tragedy 1656. From Middle English naken, to make naked.
(3) Nakedize, to go naked.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908
Gammerstang commented on the word piper's news
(noun) - News that everyone has already heard; probably from a piper going from place to place and still relating the same story till it be in everyone's mouth.
Gammerstang commented on the word stalking-horse
(noun) - A horse, real or fictitious, by which a fowler screens himself from . . . game.
Gammerstang commented on the word spalpeen
(noun) - (1) A wanderer. A term of contempt for a man; also used without contempt; from spailp'n, a worthless fellow, a migratory labourer.
--Michael Traynor's English Dialect of Donegal, 1953
(2) Spal, in Irish, is a scythe, and peen a penny - that is, a mower for a penny a day.
--Arthur Young's Tour in Ireland, 1780
Gammerstang commented on the word healsfang
(noun) - (1) A word used in Anglo-Saxon laws meaning originally some punishment and afterwards the fine in commutation thereof. The legal antiquaries since c.1600 have taken it to mean the pillory.
(2) Among the Saxons, healsfang - of heals, a necke, and fang, to take.
--John Cowell's Interpreter . . . Containing the Signification of Words, 1607
(3) The sum every man sentenced to the pillory would have had to pay to save him from that punishment.
--Benjamin Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, 1840
Gammerstang commented on the word cumsloosh
(noun/adjective) - A flatterer. To get a bit cumsloosh, to become poor or relatively so.
Gammerstang commented on the word go to Peckham
(verb) - To go to dinner. A pun on peck.
Gammerstang commented on the word jettatore
(noun) - A person who brings bad luck. From Italian jettatore.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901
Gammerstang commented on the word flap-dragon
(noun) - A small combustible body, set on fire, and put afloat in a glass of liquor. The courage of the toper was tried in the attempt to swallow it flaming; and his dexterity was proved by being able to do it unhurt. Raisins in hot brandy were the commonest flap-dragons.
Gammerstang commented on the word maiden-timber
(noun) - Timber that has never been touched with the axe; New Forest.
Gammerstang commented on the word purfled
(adjective) - (1) Short-winded, especially in consequence of being too lusty.
(2) Full to excess, overloaded; swollen, inflated, turgid.
(3) Also in the form purfillit.
Gammerstang commented on the word dormedory
(noun) - (1) A sleepy stupid person who does not get on with work. From dormir French, to sleep. Dormitoire was an adjective in old French.
--G.C. Lewis's Glossary of Provincial Words Used in Herefordshire, 1839
(2) Dormed, absent-minded, dazed.
Gammerstang commented on the word borrower's cap
(noun) - The borrower is supposed to be ever ready to off with his cap and show complaisance to him from whom he wishes to obtain a loan.
--John Phin's Shakespeare Cyclopædia and New Glossary, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word boniform
(adjective/noun) - (1) Of a good nature or character; from Latin bonus, good, and forma, shape.
(2) A faculty by which moral goodness is appreciated; from Latin boniformis.
Gammerstang commented on the word roger
(noun/verb) - (1) The penis, from circa 1650; perhaps originally cant. To coit with a woman.
--Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 1956
(2) To bull, or lie with a woman; from the name of Roger being frequently given to a bull.
--Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796
(3) To have sexual intercourse with.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1914
Gammerstang commented on the word bizz
(noun) - Hair all tossed on end is said to be in a bizz; from the English word frizz.
Gammerstang commented on the word boatable
(adjective) - Capable of being navigated by boats. The word originated in America but proved so useful that it has found its way into British English dictionaries. "The river is not boatable for several months in the year."
--M. Schlele De Vere's Americanisms: The English of the New World, 1872
Gammerstang commented on the word metheglin
(noun) - (1) A fermented liquor made of honeyed water, obtained by thoroughly washing the "comb," when drained of the honey; in a high class brew the "comb" is sometimes washed in a little "fresh beer" to hasten the fermentation; but the strength of the liquor is dependent upon the quantity of honey it contains. Metheglin, when well made, and refined and matured by age, is a "cordial" of no mean order - a homely "liqueur" of potent quality.
--Georgina Jackson's Shropshire Word-Book, 1879
(2) A spiced or medicated variety of mead, originally peculiar to Wales.
Gammerstang commented on the word eatenest
(adjective) - I have . . . noticed some of our rather curious superlatives . . . Walking over a ploughed field, a rustic, noticing some spear-grass, said, "It is the eatenest thing that grow" - that is, the most exhausting or devouring of the soil.
--Edward Moor's Suffolk Words and Phrases, 1823
Gammerstang commented on the word lethean
(adjective) - (1) Pertaining to the river Lethe; hence, pertaining to or causing oblivion or forgetfulness of the past.
(2) Oblivious; from Lethe, one of the rivers of hell. From Greek letho, old form of lanthano, to forget.
--Daniel Lyons' American Dictionary of the English Language, 1897
(3) Deadly, mortal, pestiferous.
--Thomas Blount's Glossographia, 1656
Gammerstang commented on the word called to straw
(adjective) - A woman who is called to straw is about to have a baby. I first assumed that it referred to a straw mattress, just as "hit the hay" signifies "go to bed." But many natives, including physicians and midwives at widely separated points in Missouri and Arkansas, assure me that straw means the act of parturition . . . It is sometimes used as a verb, as in, "Mable's a-strawin' right now."
--Vance Randolph's Down in the Holler, 1953
Gammerstang commented on the word algerining
(noun) - The act of prowling about with intent to steal . . . Probably from Algerine, an inhabitant of Algiers. The greatest commerce of the Algerines consists in the merchandize which they obtain by the piratical plunder of Christians over the whole Mediterranean.
Gammerstang commented on the word magastromancy
(noun) - (1) A name invented by Gaule for magical astrology; so magastromancer, one who practices magastromancy, magastromantic, pertaining to magastromancy.
(2) Examples of the magastromancer's fatall miseries are too many to be instanc't . . . To what end serve the feigned mirables wonders of nature but to feigne the magastromantick art for the greatest mirable.
--John Gaule's Mag-Astro-Mancer; or, The Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner Posed and Puzzled, 1652
Gammerstang commented on the word batten
(verb) - (1) To fatten, or grow fat. In Sternberg's Folk Lore and Glossary of Northamptonshire 1851, the local phrase is quoted, "Them pigs batten in the sun."
(2) Fattening and battening, a toast of a child's fattening and thriving given at its baptism in private, when the bread, cheese and whisky are partaken of.
--Alexander Warrack's Scots Dialect Dictionary, 1911
Gammerstang commented on the word munz-watcher
(noun) - One of those sneaks that makes a practice of watching . . . sweethearts on their nightly walks, and if any impropriety is witnessed, demanding hush-money to keep the matter secret. Yorkshire.
Gammerstang commented on the word Kentucky colonel
(noun) - A bogus colonel. After the American Civil War, it is alleged, nearly every man in Kentucky was either a captain, a colonel, or a general.
--John Sandiland's Western Canadian Dictionary and Phrase-Book, 1913
Gammerstang commented on the word clock-faces
n. A favorite name for the small circles of ice formed upon a pool when it begins to freeze over. - Francis Taylor's Folk-Speech of South Lancashire, 1901
Gammerstang commented on the word butcher's plums
(pl. noun) - Meat. On saying to someone I was visiting, "Who lives next door?" I was answered, "The butcher. That's where we get our butcher's plums."
--Rev. F.M.T. Palgrave's Words and Phrases in Everyday Use by the Natives of Hetton-le-Hole, Durham, Being Words Not Ordinarily Accepted, 1896
Gammerstang commented on the word the squares
(pl. noun) - "How go the squares?" how goes the game? The reference is to the chessboard. Thomas Middleton, Family of Love 1608. Yomenne, "yeomen"; the pawns in the game of chess.
Gammerstang commented on the word flutter the dovecots
(verb) - To cause a mild excitement in society. Shakespeare, Coriolanus.
Gammerstang commented on the word manurement
(noun) - (1) Cultivation; improvement; as in the manurement of wits.
--Joseph Worcester's Dictionary of the English Language, 1881
(2) Manure your heart with diligence, and in it sow good seed.
--Zachary Boyd's Zion's Flowers, 1645
Gammerstang commented on the word anthropotomist
(noun) - (1) One who studies human anatomy.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888
(2) One who cuts up or dissects a man; from Greek anthropos, man, and tomis or tomeus, one who cuts.
Gammerstang commented on the word glossator
(noun) - He that makes a glosse or comment to interpret the hard meaning of words or things.
--Edward Phillips' New World of English Words, 1598
Gammerstang commented on the word black ox
(noun) - (1) "The black ox has trod on his foot," he has fallen into decay or adversity.
(2) Black oxen were sacrificed to the Roman gods of the Lower Regions. The c.1546 proverb, "the black ox never trod upon his foot," means he is not married. "The black ox hath trampled on him" is an equivalent of "He is henpecked."
(3) The black ox is said to tramp on one who has lost a near relation by death.
Gammerstang commented on the word philopena
(noun) - Another, and highly reprehensible way of extorting a gift, is to have what is called a philopena with a gentleman. This very silly joke is when a young lady, in cracking almonds, chances to find two kernels in one shell; she shares them with a beau; which ever first calls out "philopena" on their next meeting, is entitled to receive a present from the other; and she is to remind him of it till he remembers to comply. So much nonsense is often talked on the occasion, that it seems to expand into something of importance, and the gentleman thinks he can do no less, than purchase for the lady something very elegant, or valuable; particularly if he has heard her tell of the munificence of other beaux in their philopenas.
--Eliza Leslie's Behaviour Book, 1854
Gammerstang commented on the word mi-nabs
(pronoun) - A term used when speaking of a third person who is not present . . . It would appear to be the equivalent of "my lord," or "his lordship," used sarcastically. The word is evidentally derived from the Scottish word knab or nab, which was used derisively for a little laird, or any person of dignity.
--Francis Taylor's Folk-Speech of South Lancashire, 1901
Gammerstang commented on the word frugiferous
(adjective) - (1) Producing fruit or corn. From Latin fruges, fruits, and fero, to bear.
(2) Fructiferous. From Latin frugifer, frux, frugis, and voro, to eat.
--John Ridpath's Home Reference Library, 1898
(3) Frugiverous, that which devoureth fruit, corn, &c. From Latin.
--Nathaniel Bailey's Etymological English Dictionary, 1749
Gammerstang commented on the word backend
(noun) - (1) They sometimes say the backend of the week, but latter end is more common.
--Rev. Alfred Easther's Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield, 1883
(2) Late autumn; Cumbria.
(3) The later part of a season.
(4) Backendish, rough and wintry, generally applied to the weather.
--Rev. M.C.F. Morris's Yorkshire Folk-Talk, 1892
Gammerstang commented on the word cow-jockey
(noun) - (1) A beast-dealer; Northern England.
(2) Jockeyed, cheated; tricked in trade; jockeying, cheating, deceiving in trade.
Gammerstang commented on the word holy-dabbies
(pl. noun) - (1) Cakes of shortbread, formerly used as communion-bread.
(2) Singing-loaf or cake, the Eucharistic wafer, because a psalm was directed to be sung while it was making.
--T. Lewis Davies' Supplementary English Glossary, 1881
Gammerstang commented on the word in blood
(adjective) - To be in blood, to be in good condition, to be vigorous. A term of the chase.
--Rev. Alexander Dyce's Glossary to the Works of William Shakespeare, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word shill-I-shall-I
(adverb) - A corrupt reduplication of shall I? - the question of a man hesitating. To stand shill-I-shall-I is to continue hesitating and procrastinating.
--Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755
Gammerstang commented on the word hippocrene
used to refer to poetic or literary inspiration.
Gammerstang commented on the word one-wheeled coach
(noun) - The young men of a place, when they know that a young man is paying attention to a girl, seize hold of him and place him in a wheelbarrow in which they wheel him up and down until they are tired, when they upset him on the nearest pile or in a pond. To say that a man has "ridden in the one-wheeled coach" is tantamount to the expression that he has gone a-courting.
--Rev. S. Rundle's Transactions of the Penzance Natural History Society, 1886
Gammerstang commented on the word nothing's nest
(noun) - A nonentity. "He's a nothing's nest."
--G.F. Northall's Warwickshire Word-Book, 1896
Gammerstang commented on the word all-sorts
(pl. noun) - (1) The leavings of saloon glasses, poured together and sold cheap.
--Mitford Mathews' Dictionary of Americanisms, 1956
(2) A slang term designating the drippings of glasses in saloons, collected and sold at half-price to drinkers who are not overly particular.
--Sylva Clapin's Dictionary of Americanisms, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word open-verdict
(noun) - A verdict returned by the jury . . . by which it is found that a crime has been committed without specifying the criminal, or that a sudden or violent death has occurred, without assigning any cause.
Gammerstang commented on the word ronyon
(noun) - (1) From the French rogne, the scab or scurf. A term of contempt, applied to a female, as "scurvy fellow" was similarly applied to a male, and both derived from the same French origin, and neither having particular reference to size. "Aroint thee, witch! the rump-fed ronyon cries." Macbeth.
(2) The male sex organ.
Gammerstang commented on the word fairlick
(noun) - A football term used when the ball is fairly caught or kicked beyond bounds. (Harvard University)
--Albert Barrère's Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant, 1889
Gammerstang commented on the word menavelings
(pl. noun) - Odd money remaining after the daily accounts are tallied at a railway booking-office, usually divided amongst the clerks.
--John Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887
Gammerstang commented on the word loitersacke
(noun) - (1) A lazy, loitering fellow.
(2) A lazy, lumpish fellow; from John Lyly's Mother Bombie (1594).
(3) Loiter-pegs, an idler; East Yorkshire.
Gammerstang commented on the word fash
(noun) - (1) Care, trouble, anxiety.
--Robert Willan's Glossary of Words Used in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1811
(2) To take the fash, to take the trouble, to be at the pains.
Gammerstang commented on the word thruffing
(noun) - (1) The whole matter.
--Jabez Good's Glossary of East Lincolnshire, 1900
(2) In the phrase, "to know the whole thruffing of anything," to know all about it. Thruffish, thoroughly well. "Thruffish, thank you." Lincolnshire. Thruffable, open throughout; figuratively, transparently honest and sincere; a person capable of being "seen through." North Yorkshire.
Gammerstang commented on the word flexanimous
(adjective) - (1) Having power to change the disposition of the mind.
(2) Of a minde easily bent or turned.
(3) Flexanimousness, flexibleness of mind or disposition.
Gammerstang commented on the word Yankeese
(noun) - American English; 1800s.
Gammerstang commented on the word propheciographer
(noun) - One who writes down or records prophecies.
Gammerstang commented on the word breklasse
(adjective) - Without breeches; naked; from Old English brek, breeches.
Gammerstang commented on the word snool
(verb/noun) - To dispirit by constant chiding; or to depress the energies of life by excess of bodily toil . . . A poor pitiful fellow.
Gammerstang commented on the word primpit
(adjective) - (1) Stiffly or primly dressed; stiff, formal, prim.
(2) Affected, prudish; of the mouth, closed primly, pursed up (Scottish); also primped-up.
Gammerstang commented on the word cothish
(adjective) - (1) Faint, sickly, ailing. A dog is said to be cothy when he is meek and delicate.
Gammerstang commented on the word dendranthopology
(noun) - Study based on the theory that man had sprung from trees.
Gammerstang commented on the word pollrumptious
(adjective) - Restive; unruly; foolishly confident.
--John Farmer's Slang and Its Analogues, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word cappernoited
(adjective) - Intoxicated, giddy, frolicsome.
Gammerstang commented on the word genitor
(noun) - (1) One who procreates; a sire; a father.
(2) A testicle; the testicles; in later use for genitals. Adapted from Old French genitoir. In adjective use as members genitors late 1400s.
Gammerstang commented on the word gleek
(noun) - A joke, a jeer, a scoff. In some of the notes on this word it has been supposed to be connected with the card-game of gleek; but it was not recollected that the Saxon language supplied the term glig, ludibrium, and doubtless a corresponding verb. Thus glee signifies mirth and jocularity; and gleeman or gligman, a minstrel or joculator. Gleek was therefore used to express a stronger sort of joke, a scoffing. It does not appear that the phrase to give the gleek was ever introduced in the above game, which was borrowed by us from the French and derived from an original of very different import from the word in question . . . To give the minstrel is no more than a punning phrase for giving the gleek. Minstrels and jesters were anciently called gleekmen or gligmen.
--Rev. Alexander Dyce's Glossary to the Works of Shakespeare, 1902
Gammerstang commented on the word phlogiston
The existence of phlogiston was denied by Lavoisier in 1775, and though stoutly maintained by Priestley, belief in it was generally abandoned by 1800.
Gammerstang commented on the word jangle
(noun/verb) - (1) Gossiping, idle talking; to jangle one's time away.
(2) To quarrel, argue angrily. Hence, janglesome, quarrelsome, noisy, boisterous. Northern England, Scotland.
Gammerstang commented on the word riding the stang
(noun) - (1) A punishment among the vulgar; inflicted upon fornicators, adulterers, severe husbands, etc. . . . Offenders . . . are mounted astraddle on a long pole, or stang, supported upon the shoulders of their companions.
(2) Stang, a strong piece of wood on which the carcasses of beasts are suspended by the sinews of the hind legs.
Gammerstang commented on the word rack rides
(pl. noun) - A phrase used when the clouds are driven rapidly by the wind.
--F.T. Dinsdale's Provincial Words Used in Teasdale, Durham, 1849
Gammerstang commented on the word oneirocritick
(noun) - (1) An interpreter of dreams.
--Stephen Jones's Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary, 1818
(2) Oneirocritical, belonging to the interpretation of dreams.
(3) Oneirocriticism, the art of interpreting dreams. Oneirocracy, oneirocriticism. Oneirologist, one versed in oneirology. Oneiromancer, oneiromantist, oneiropolist, one who divines by dreams. Oneiropompist, a sender of dreams.
Gammerstang commented on the word tailor's mense
(noun) - A small portion left by way of good manners. In some parts of the North it is the custom for the village tailor to work at his customer's house, and to partake of the hospitality of the family board. On these occasions the best fare is invariably provided; at least such was the case when I was a boy; and the tailor to shew that he has had enough, generally leaves a little on his plate, which is called tailor's mense . . . From mense, decency, propriety of conduct, good manners, kindness, hospitality.
Gammerstang commented on the word malahack
(verb) - A word ludicrously fabricated which means to cut or carve in an awkward and slovenly manner.
Gammerstang commented on the word whiffler
(noun) - (1) An officer who heads a procession and clears the way for it. The whifflers in the civic processions at Norwich carry swords, which they wave to and fro before them.
(2) An officer who preceded a procession, clearing the way and playing a flute.
--William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Terms, 1832
(3) The old term for fifers preceeding the body of archers who cleared the way, but more recently applied to very trifling fellows. From whiff . . . a slight fitful breeze or transcient puff of wind.
Gammerstang commented on the word cowse
(verb) - (1) To pursue animals; Western England.
--Thomas Wright's Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English, 1857
(2) To wander about idly.
(3) To court, make love to spelled course.
Gammerstang commented on the word feuilleton
(noun) - In French newspapers, or others in which the French custom is followed, a portion of one or more pages marked off at the bottom from the rest of the page and appropriated to light literature, criticism, etc. Adopted from French, from feuillet, a diminutive of feuille, leaf. Feuilletonism, aptitude for writing feuilletons; feuilletonist, a writer of feuilletons.
Gammerstang commented on the word arle
(2) Arle, money given in confirmation of a bargain . . . when a servant is hired.
Gammerstang commented on the word isabelline
(noun) - (1) A pale brownish-yellow colour; from Isabelle, a princess of this name.
--Charles Annandale's Dictionary of the English Language, 1897
(2) The archduke Albertus, who had married the infanta Isabella, daughter of Philip II, King of Spain, . . . determined to lay siege to Ostend Belgium, then in the possession of the heretics. His pious princess, who attended him in that expedition, made a vow that till it was taken she would never change her clothes.
--Joseph Taylor's Antiquitates Curiosae, 1819
(3) Contrary to expectation, it was three years before the place was reduced, in which time the linen of her highness had acquired a hue which . . . was much admired and adopted by the court fashionables under the name of "Isabella color." It is a whitish yellow, or soiled buff - better imagined that described.
--Frank Stauffer's The Queer, the Quaint, the Quizzical, 1882
Gammerstang commented on the word park the biscuit
(verb) - (1) To sit down. In the biscuit, in the buttocks. "Make one mistake and you get it in the biscuit." Hot in the biscuit, greatly excited; sexually stimulated.
--Hyman Goldin's Dictionary of American Underworld Lingo, 1950
(2) Squeeze the biscuit, to catch the saddlehorn when riding.
--Ramon Adams's Western Words: A Dictionary of the Range, Cow Camp, and Trail, 1946
Gammerstang commented on the word detrain
(verb) - Leave, or cause to leave, a train. Like deplane. Why not deboat also?
Gammerstang commented on the word egg-wife-trot
(noun) - An easy jog - such a speed as farmers' wives carry their eggs to the market.
Gammerstang commented on the word doggerybaw
(noun) - Nonsense.
Gammerstang commented on the word drum-roll payment
(noun) - Not to pay at all. No soldier can be arrested for debt when on the march.
Gammerstang commented on the word condiddle
(verb) - To convey away secretly.
--Walter Skeat's Specimens of English Dialects, Westmoreland, 1879
Gammerstang commented on the word shinnicked
(adjective) - Benumbed, paralysed with the cold, especially when accompanied by contraction of the muscles and violent shivering.
--G.M. Story's Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 1982
Gammerstang commented on the word wedge-floating
(adjective) - Concentrated, strong. There is an old saying that camp cooks test coffee by dropping an iron wedge into the pot. If the wedge floats, the coffee is too strong. Ozarks.
Gammerstang commented on the word fause-house
(noun) - (1) A vacancy in a stack for preserving corns.
(2) A hollow made in a corn-stack, with an opening on the side most exposed to the wind, for the purpose of drying the corn. Scottish form of false and house.
(3) When the corn is in a doubtful state by being too green or wet, the stackbuilder by means of old timber, makes a large apartment in his stack with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind; this he calls a fause-house.
--Robert Burns' Halloween Note, c.1820
Gammerstang commented on the word allworks
(noun) - A man-servant employ'd by a farmer in all sorts of work he has occasion to set him about . . . He is the lowest servant in the house and is not hired for the plough or the waggon particularly, but to be set about anything.
--Samuel Pegge's Alphabet of Kenticisms, 1735-1736
Gammerstang commented on the word callipygian
(adjective) - Of, pertaining to, or having well-shaped or finely developed buttocks. The name of a famous statue of Venus. From Greek kallos, beauty, and pyg, buttocks.
Gammerstang commented on the word bedfellow
(noun) - (1) The simplicity of ancient manners made it common for men, even of the highest rank, to sleep together; and the term bedfellow implied great intimacy. Lord Scroop is said to have been bedfellow to Henry V as found in Shakespeare's Henry V:
Nay, but the man was his bedfellow,
Whom he hath cloy'd and grac'd with kingly favours.
After the battle of Dreux, in 1562, the prince of Condé slept in the same bed with the duke of Guise, an anecdote frequently cited to show the magnanimity of the latter, who slept soundly, though so near his greatest enemy, then his prisoner. Letters from noblemen to each other often began with the appellation bedfellow.
(2) This unseemly custom continued common till the middle of the last century.
--Rev. T.F. Thiselton-Dyer's Folk-Lore of Shakespeare, 1884
Before he became president in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was known to have often slept with his best friend, Joshua Speed, while the two were traveling.
Gammerstang commented on the word fidicinales
(pl. noun) - (1) With anatomists, the muscles of the fingers called lumbricales, from the use they are put to by musicians in playing some instruments.
(2) From fidicen, a harper.
--Richard Hoblyn's Medical Dictionary, 1859
(3) Fidicinal, of or pertaining to a player on stringed instruments.
Gammerstang commented on the word commorant
(adjective) - Abiding, dwelling, resident. Of water, standing, not running away. Adapted from Latin commorantem, to tarry, abide.
Gammerstang commented on the word lime-juicers
(pl. noun) - A nickname current among seafaring men for the sailors of the British merchant marines. Now limey.
Gammerstang commented on the word dog-Latin
(noun) - (1) Barbarous Latin, such as was formerly used by lawyers in their pleadings. Now applied to "medical Latin."
(2) Also kitchen-, bog-, garden-, or apothecaries'-Latin.
--John Farmer's Slang and Its Analogues, 1905
Gammerstang commented on the word dildrums
(pl. noun) - (1) Childhood nonsense. "To tell Doldrums," to talk wildly.
(2) Dildrams, strange tales; especially in the phrase to tell dildrams. Lancashire.
Gammerstang commented on the word bastard-scurvey
(noun) - A kind of leprosy.
--John Brand's Brief Description of Orkney, Zetland, Pightland-Firth and Caithness, 1883
Gammerstang commented on the word tutting
(noun) - A landlady who wished to have a tutting gave notice of her intention to all her female acquaintances, whether married or single. At the hour specified, the visitors were regaled with tea but on the removal of that, the table was replenished with a bowl and glasses and exhilarated with potent punch, when each guest became a new creature. At this time the husbands and sweethearts arrived, paid their half guinea each for the treatment of themselves and partners, joined the revelry, and partook of the amusements. This custom, which was confined to the lower orders, is now very properly almost abandoned.
--J.E. Brogden's Provincial Lincolnshire Words and Expressions, 1866
Gammerstang commented on the word animadversion
(noun) - (1) Serious consideration or observation.
(2) A taking notice of a fault with some degree of anger, severity, or dispatch.
(3) An observation made upon a book after duly examining into the merits of it.
--Thomas Dyche's New General English Dictionary, 1740
(4) Reproof; severe censure.
--John Walker's Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, 1835
Gammerstang commented on the word walkist
(noun) - (1) One who participates in a walking match.
--William Craigie's Dictionary of American English, 1940
(2) As soon as the door is opened to such abominations . . . a whole host of similar terms should rush in and try to make a lodgement. Hence no sooner had men's ears become somewhat accustomed to hear a pedestrian called a walkist, than the man whose rifle brought down the largest amount of game became known as a famous shootist.
--M. Schele de Vere's Americanisms: The English of the New World, 1872
Gammerstang commented on the word outherod
(verb) - To excel or exceed in bombast, magniloquence, or violence. From the character of Herod who, in the old miracle plays, was always represented as arrogant.
Gammerstang commented on the word higgler
(noun) - One who sells provisions from door to door; one who buys fowls, butter, eggs, &c. in the country and brings them to town to sell. From higgle, to beat down the price of a thing in a bargain; to sell provisions from door to door. Hence higgledy-piggledy, corrupted from higgle, higglers carrying a confused medley of provisions; in a disorderly manner.
Gammerstang commented on the word ale-connor
An ale-conner (sometimes aleconner) is an officer appointed yearly at the court-leet of ancient English communities to ensure the goodness and wholesomeness of bread, ale, and beer. There were many different names for this position which varied from place to place: "ale-tasters", gustatores cervisiae, "ale-founders", and "ale-conners". Ale-conners were also often trusted to ensure that the beer was sold at a fair price.
Gammerstang commented on the word davered
(adjective) - (1) Wandering in mind; silly, senseless. Davering, riding or walking in a dazed condition. Scotland, Northern England.
(2) Thy heart is like the daver'd rose.
--Edward Capern's Poems, 1864
(3) Daverdly, dowdy, unkempt.
Gammerstang commented on the word pig-cheer
(noun) - The word is used in Yorkshire, and applied especially to dishes made from the viscera of the pig. Christmas was formerly, as now, the principal season for pig-cheer.
Gammerstang commented on the word kissing-bunch
(noun) - (1) A bush of evergreens sometimes substituted for mistletoe at Christmas.
(2) The old "kissing bunch" is still hung in some of the old-fashioned cottage houses of Derbyshire and Cornwall - two wooden hoops, one passing through the other, decked with evergreen, in the centre of which is hung a "crown" of rosy apples and a sprig of mistletoe. This is hung from the central beam of the living-room, and underneath it is much kissing and romping. Later on, the carol-singers stand beneath it and sing God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.
--Peter Ditchfield's Old English Customs, 1901
Gammerstang commented on the word Bristol man's gift
(noun) - (1) A present of something which the giver pronounces to be of no use or of no value to himself.
Gammerstang commented on the word vernissage
(noun) - (1) A day before the exhibition of paintings on which exhibitors may retouch and varnish their pictures already hung. A private view of paintings before public exhibition. From the French word vernis, varnish.
(2) Varnishing-day, a day before the opening of a picture exhibition, on which exhibitors have the privilege of retouching their pictures on the walls.
Gammerstang commented on the word indignagger
(verb) - To argue with a master.
--Morris Marples' University Slang, 1950
Gammerstang commented on the word climacteric
(noun) - By the climacteric system, seven years was declared to be the termination of childhood; fourteen the term of puberty; twenty-one of adult age; thirty-five, or five times seven, as the height of physical and bodily strength. At forty-nine the person was said to have reached the height of his mental strength or intellectual powers; at sixty-three, or nine times seven, he was said to have reached the grand climacteric.
Gammerstang commented on the word dwale
(noun) - Error, delusion; deceit; heretic, deceiver c.900-1300; related to Old English dwela, dweola, and dwala, error, heresy, madness. Dwal-kenned, heretical.
Gammerstang commented on the word gubbertushed
Related to gubbed, rough, misshapen; Hampshire.
--Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1896-1905
Gammerstang commented on the word dashel
a brush for sprinkling holy water; 1500s.
Gammerstang commented on the word dashelled
(adjective) - (1) Beaten about and wetted by bad weather.
(2) Related to dashel, a brush for sprinkling holy water; 1500s.
Gammerstang commented on the word crazelty
(adjective) - (1) Infirm or dilapidated. It is said of a sick person or one out of sorts; a gate ready to fall is crazelty.
--Alfred Easther's Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield, 1883
(2) Crazling, a person affected with a craze or mania.
Gammerstang commented on the word toad-under-a-harrow
(noun) - (1) The comparative situation of a poor fellow whose wife - not satisfied with the mere henpecking of her helpmate - takes care that all the world shall witness the indignities she puts upon him. The expression is also applied to any other similar, if such there be, state of misery.
(2) Harrow, a heavy frame of timber or iron set with iron teeth or tines, which is dragged over ploughed land to break clods.
Gammerstang commented on the word ambigu
(noun) - In the 18th century the word was used to describe a plentiful assemblage of hot and cold dishes. When George II and his Queen attended the wedding of their son Frederick there was a "Supper in Ambigu" . . . in which guests were offered forty-five hot dishes and fifteen cold. "Ambo" is the Latin for both, and both temperatures were certainly there to taste. Yet the great "spread" has a title which suggests uncertainty. There was much on the royal tables to invite overeating and nothing to cause intellectual confusion, unless the composition of some of the dishes was mysterious and misleading, and so menacing to those with queasy stomachs. But the title ambigu can hardly have been chosen as an admonition to go carefully. It sounded well; it looked imposing; it made hot and cold look distressingly plebeian. So for a while it was a vogue word and gave joy to those who had acquired it. It may return. Vogues are brief, and perhaps the restaurant which seeks modish customers by announcing its agreeable ambience may now announce the pleasures of an ambigu.
--Ivor Brown's Ring of Words, 1967
Gammerstang commented on the word hoppinjohn
(noun) - Black-eyed peas cooked with hog jowl, the traditional New Year's dinner in many well-to-do families who would not eat such coarse food on any other day . . . In Civil War days, some planters who had nothing to eat but black-eyed peas at a New Year's dinner were lucky enough to regain their fortunes, and later on they somehow connected this good luck with New Year's hoppinjohn . . . It is considered very important in some districts to have black-eyed peas for dinner on New Year's Day. I have known country folk who rode a long way to get these peas for a New Year's dinner, even though they did not care particularly for black-eyed peas, and seldom ate them at any other time.
--Vance Randolph's Ozark Superstitions, 1947
Gammerstang commented on the word benedict
(noun) - A married man. From Benedict, the husband of Beatrice, in Much Ado About Nothing.
Gammerstang commented on the word lycanthropia
(noun) - (1) A variety of melancholy in which the person believes himself to be changed into a wolf, and imitates the voice and habits of that animal.
(2) A madness proceeding from the bite of a mad wolf, whence men imitate the howling of wolves.
(3) Unlycanthropize, to change a man turned into a wolf back into a man again.
Gammerstang commented on the word drury
(noun) - (1) Gallantry, courtship; love, delight; from French drue, a mistress.
--Herbert Coleridge's Oldest Words in the English Language, 1863
(2) Love, especially sexual love, love-making, courtship; often, illicit love. A beloved person, sweetheart. A love-token, keepsake, gift. In Scotland, confused with dowery. A beloved, prized, or precious thing; a treasure.
Gammerstang commented on the word good man's croft
(noun) - It was customary for farmers to leave a portion of their fields uncropped, which was a dedication to the evil spirit and called good man's croft. The Church exerted itself for a long time to abolish this practice, but farmers . . . were afraid to discontinue the practice for fear of ill luck. I remember a farmer as late as 1825 always leaving a small piece of a field uncropped, but then did not know why. At length he gave the right of working these bits to a poor labourer, who did well with it, and in a few years the farmer cultivated the whole himself.
--James Napier's Superstitious Beliefs in the West of Scotland, 1879
Gammerstang commented on the word mallemarocking
(noun) - (1) The visiting and carousing of seamen in the Greenland ships.
--William Smyth's Sailor's Word-Book, 1867
(2) Formed on Dutch mallemarok, a foolish woman, tomboy; from mal, foolish, and marok, adaptation of French marotte, an "object of foolish affection."
Gammerstang commented on the word green-sickness
(noun) - (1) A disease incident to virgins.
--Noah Webster's Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, 1806
(2) A disease in which the person has a sickly paleness, with a green tinge of the complexion, chiefly confined to unmarried females.
--James Stormonth's Dictionary of the English Language, 1884
(3) The principal means to be employed in the cure of this disease are gentle exercise in the open air, with nutritious and rather stimulating diet, sea-bathing, and agreeable society.
--Leo de Colange's Zell's Popular Encyclopedia, 1871
Gammerstang commented on the word adulter
(verb) - (1) To commit adultery with another; a word not classical.
(2) Holer, adulterer; libertine; from French holier.
Gammerstang commented on the word carfuddle
(verb) - To discompose; to rumple. Synonymous with carfuffle, to disorder.
Gammerstang commented on the word graveyard issues
(pl. noun) - (1) A bold and gruesome metaphor to describe what can only be carried by extreme measures, and to obtain which one might have to fight to the death.
(2) A person buried for some time is said to have taken a ground-sweat.
--John Nall's Glossary of the Dialect of East Anglia, 1866
Gammerstang commented on the word gravel day
On the second Monday of the first term in the year, if the weather be at all favorable, it has been customary from time immemorial to hold a college meeting and petition the president for "Gravel day" . . . The faculty grants this day for the purpose of fostering in the students the habit of physical labor and exercise, so essential to vigorous mental exertion.
--D.A. Wells' Sketches of Williams College, 1847
In old times, when the students were few and rather fonder of work than at the present, they turned out with spades, hoes, and other implements, and spread gravel over the walks to the college grounds. But in later days, they have preferred to tax themselves to a small amount and delegate the work to others, while they spend the day in visiting the Cascade, the Natural Bridge, or others of the numerous places of interest near us.
--Boston Daily Evening Traveller, July 12, 1854
Gammerstang commented on the word petrified kidneys
(pl. noun) - Kidney-shaped stones formerly used to pave the footpaths, and even now to be met with in remote villages.
Gammerstang commented on the word stale drunk
(adjective) - A man is said to be stale drunk when he has been drunk overnight and has doctored himself with stimulants a little too much in the morning and tried too many of the "hairs of the dog that bit him." If this state of things is long continued, it is often called "same old drunk."
Gammerstang commented on the word gizzen
(verb) - (1) To grin audibly.
--C. Clough Robinson's Dialect of Mid-Yorkshire, 1876
(2) Gizzum, the mouth.
Gammerstang commented on the word wamble
(verb) - (1) To rumble, as when the intestines are distended with wind; generally spoken of the stomach.
(2) To turn and twist the body, roll or wriggle about, roll over and over; also with about, over, and through. To roll about in walking; to go with an unsteady gait.
Gammerstang commented on the word dowsabell
(noun) - (1) A common name in sixteenth-century poetry for a sweetheart, especially for an unsophisticated country girl.
(2) The name means "sweet and beautiful," from French douce et belle.
Gammerstang commented on the word dunch
(adjective) - (1) Deaf . . . I have no doubt that dunch is Anglo-Saxon . . . It ought not to be forgotten that many words are . . . being arrested by our etymologists in the present advancing age of investigation.
--James Jennings' Dialect of Somersetshire, 1869
(2) Undeaf, to cure of deafness.
--Robert Hunter's Encyclopædic Dictionary, 1894
Gammerstang commented on the word out-pick-pick
(noun) - The kind of pick-pick a fish from whose bones the flesh is easily picked that is caught further out to sea than the ordinary one.
--Alan Ross's Pitcairnese Language, 1964
Gammerstang commented on the word chirology
(noun) - The art of conversing with the hands and fingers.
Gammerstang commented on the word lucubrator
(noun) - A person who studies by night, or by candlelight.
Gammerstang commented on the word twistin'-in
(noun) - A term applied by the Luddites in 1812 in Lancashire to the swearing-in of a new member of their secret society.
Gammerstang commented on the word sillabub
(noun) - (1) A drink made of stale beer or wine, sweeten'd with sugar and milk strained into it from the cow.
--John Kersey's New English Dictionary, 1772
(2) A frothy food to be slapped or slubbered up, prepared by milking from the cow into a vessel containing wine or spirits . . . The word is a corruption of slap-up or slub-up . . . and is the exact equivalent of Low German slabb' ut, Swiss schlabutz, watery food, spoon-meat, explained as to slap, lap or sup up food with a certain noise.
(3) Curds made by milking into vinegar. This word has exercised the etymologists. John Minshew thinks it corrupted from swillingbubbles . . . Henshaw deduces it from the Dutch sulle, a pipe, and buyck, a paunch, because sillabubs are commonly drunk through a spout, out of a jug . . . It seems more probably derived from . . . old English esil a bouc, vinegar for the mouth.
(4) Selibub . . . is good to coole a cholerick stomacke.
--Thomas Cogan's Haven of Health, 1584
Gammerstang commented on the word grangerise
(verb) - Grangerisation is the addition of all sorts of things directly and indirectly bearing on the book in question, illustrating it, connected with it or its author, or even the author's family . . . It includes autograph letters, caricatures, prints, broadsheets, biographical sketches, anecdotes, scandals, press notices, parallel passages, and any other sort of matter which can be got together . . . for the matter in hand. The word is from Rev. James Granger.
Gammerstang commented on the word anabrochismus
(noun) - An operation for removing the eyelashes by means of a hair knotted around them.
Gammerstang commented on the word quanked
(adjective) - (1) Overpowered by fatigue. From Anglo-Saxon cwanian, to be weary or faint, and cwencan, to quench.
--John Akerman's Provincial Words and Phrases in Wiltshire, 1842
(2) Quank, to overcome, subdue; hence quanker, a settler.
Gammerstang commented on the word upsee-Dutch
(noun) - An old phrase signifying the Dutch manner or style, as "to drink upsee-Dutch," to drink in the Dutch manner, that is to drink deeply. From Dutch op-zyn-Deutsch, in the Dutch fashion.
--Daniel Lyons's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1897
Gammerstang commented on the word applaudity
(noun) - Clapping of hands for joy.
--Henry Cockeram's Interpreter of Hard English Words, 1623
Gammerstang commented on the word teethache
(noun) - Toothache; said when more than one tooth gives trouble; same error as exemplified in the British "parcels post" but unlike the proper "attorneys-general"; so called because more than one parcel is carried.
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